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How Do Car Accident Settlement Payouts work in Alberta?

If you are considering pursuing a lawsuit for personal injury you have sustained in a car accident, you may have questions about what the end stage looks like. You are likely asking “how do car accident settlement payouts in Alberta work? In particular, you might be wondering what if anything I have to do to get my compensation after going through the process.

How is a claim settled?

During the course of your lawsuit, various offers will be exchanged between the parties to the action, meaning between you/your lawyer and the insurer for the other driver. To get the ball rolling towards settlement one party has to accept an offer by the other. After that has been done you have effectively entered into a binding agreement.

Can My Lawyer Reach A Car Accident Settlement Without My Instructions?

Your lawyer has an obligation to bring any car accident settlement offer to you so that they can receive instructions about how to proceed. If your lawyer were to accept such an offer without your permission this would be grounds for professional misconduct and could be grounds for a lawsuit.

Once I Have Accepted My Offer What is Next?

When you have accepted your offer it will take some time for the cheque to come to the mail. At the beginning of your lawsuit you will have signed something called an “Irrevocable Direction to Pay”, what this does is authorize your lawyers to hold the settlement funds until you sign something called a “release” to the insurer. What the “release” does is effectively state that you can no longer sue the other driver in exchange for the settlement funds you receive.

Once you have accepted the offer there is no reneging, you cannot sue for the accident again. This includes if you agree to an offer and then later end up developing more serious symptoms related to your injuries. To avoid remorse you should listen closely to your lawyer’s advice. Lawyers specializing in personal injury law are constantly engaged in negotiation. A skilled lawyer should be able to identify when to and for how much it would be reasonable to settle for. Disregarding such advice can lead to less of a reward than you would like and could imperil your ability to provide care for yourself in the future depending on the circumstances.

What If The Lawsuit Is On Behalf Of My Child?

When your child is injured and you acting as their litigation representative set out to accept an offer made for their case, things get slightly more complicated. Settlement of claims by minors is governed by the Minors Property Act within the province of Alberta. What this means is that any settlement agreed to by the litigation representative must be approved by the court or the settlement will not be binding on the minor meaning that the lawsuit could hypothetically continue. Once the court has confirmed the settlement, then the settlement funds are required to be paid to a trustee appointed by the court, to the office of the public trustee, or as the court directs if the amount of settlement does not exceed the amount specified in the Minors Property Regulation (currently $25, 000.00).

In many cases the money will be paid to the office of the public trustee who generally will invest the money for the benefit of the minor, to be paid out when they turn 18. Though the act does permit them to spend the funds for the benefit of the child as well. The public trustee may alternatively opt under the Public Trustee Act to pay the money to a guardian responsible for the child if the funds do not exceed the prescribed amount (currently $25, 000.00 as per the Public Trustee General Regulation). Whichever decision is made must be done in the best interests of the minor.

Conclusion

When you’re looking to pursue a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident you’ve been involved in call the Heavy Hitters at James H. Brown & Associates! Alberta’s precedent-setting law firm. We are eager to assist you and can answer any questions you may have in relation to Car Accident Settlement Payouts. Call us today for your free consultation!